Rounding out Against All Enemies’ 2018-2019 End of Year Awards are the nominees for Team of the Year. The field for this category features several women’s programs as well as the Army football team. This should come as no surprise given the team’s nods in other Award categories such as Service Academy Game of the Year (Armed Forces Bowl victory over Houston) and Coach of the Year (Jeff Monken). Let’s take a look at our nominees for this category:
Air Force Women’s Tennis
Air Force Women’s Tennis was a force to be reckoned with this year. Led by Female Athlete of the Year honorable mention, TJ Fumagalli, the Falcons secured the Mountain West Conference as co-champions and ended the season ranked as the #4 team in the ITA Mountain Region. Luckily for Air Force, Fumagalli will return next year for her senior season and expects to build on this past season’s success.
Despite the setback to New Mexico today, Air Force women's tennis earned Mountain West Mountain Division Co-Champions! 21-2 overall and 4-1 in MW competition, both Div. I era records! #LetsFly pic.twitter.com/GX9qrHpghB— Air Force Women's Tennis (@AF_Wtennis) April 20, 2019
Among the many personal accolades of Fumagalli and her teammates, the Falcons accomplished several milestones including: first-ever Mountain West championship by an Air Force Women’s program, tied a program record with 22 wins, set a new program best win percentage, and achieved several notable victories over the course of the season. In addition, the Falcons’ head coach, Kim Gidley, earned Mountain West Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year Honors in addition to being an AAE Coach of the Year nominee.
What haven’t Jeff Monken and the Black Knights done? The program has done a complete 180 over the past three seasons. Back-to-back 10-win seasons, back-to-back Commander in Chief trophy wins, three straight bowl victories. While Army football has been on the rise with AAE Coach of the Year nominee, Jeff Monken, the 2018-2019 was an especially spectacular season for the Black Knights.
In 2019, Army set a program record with 11 wins - the only losses coming to Duke in the season-opener and a heartbreaking OT loss to #4 Oklahoma. The Black Knights knocked off both Air Force and Navy to secure the CIC Trophy and also captured the Secretary’s Trophy and the Lambert Trophy. Army finished the 2018-2019 season as the #19 team in the country, and capped off their remarkable season with an absolute blow-out win against Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl.
The realm must pick one leader to defeat the Night King.— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) April 14, 2019
Jeff of the House Monken, the First of His Name, King of the Black Flag, Lord of Michie, Breaker of Streaks, Sinker of Ships, Warrior on the Hudson, the Second Singer and Warden of the Brotherhood.#ForTheThrone #GoArmy pic.twitter.com/RrsdaWMdHs
Navy Women’s Lacrosse
Navy’s Women’s Lacrosse team also features another AAE Award nominee - Kelly Larkin. The Midshipmen finished their 2018-2019 campaign ranked in all three major national lacrosse polls - IWLCA (#16), Inside Lacrosse (#18), and US Lacrosse Magazine (#15). Navy will benefit from Larkin’s return next year for her senior season. As a junior during the 2018-2019 season, she has already set Navy’s all-time record for points as well as the Patriot League’s all-time record in the same category.
After winning the Patriot League, the Midshipmen received an at-large bid into the 2019 NCAA Tournament, beating High Point in the first round before falling to #6 Virginia to finish the season. This is the third consecutive time Navy has reached the NCAA Tournament, but only the first at-large bid in program history. There’s no doubt their winning ways will continue into the 2019-2020 season.
Army Women’s Rugby
The Army Women’s Rugby team also enjoyed quite a successful run in the 2018-2019 season. Despite a cancelled match against Air Force, the Black Knights were undefeated against other service academies, defeating Norwich twice and blanking Navy (50-0) in 15s play as well as in the 7s Collegiate Ruby Championship quarterfinals (31-0).
Army ended the season ranked in the top 10 in both 15s and 7s play going 19-10 overall on the season. Victories over Navy aside, the Black Knights earned 2nd place in the CRC after falling to #2 Lindenwood in the finals, which is pretty impressive!
With all of the athletic success service academies have enjoyed during the 2018-2019 season, it was difficult narrowing down these four nominees for Team of the Year. Keep an eye out for the Against All Enemies Award poll coming out later today so you can place your vote for the 2018-2019 Team of the Year as well as for nominees in the other Award categories!